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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  January 9, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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that is where governor chris christie is expected at any moment. we will bring it to you. we're following rapid developments in a day focused on chris christie's response to allegations of political retribution surrounding the closing of the nation's busiest bridge. that all stems to incidents back in september. chris christie's visit to fort lee will come after a nearly two-hour news conference today where chris christie announced the firing of a. bridget kelly and after a statement from the u.s. attorney's office in newark it was reviewing the later, we will determine whether the law was implicated. david wildstein pled the fifth refusing to answer state lawmakers for investigating this very issue. we need to be clear, no evidence has suggested that chris christie knew about or ordered the lane closings in question. now, throughout the nearly two-hour-long news conference the governor emphasized his repeated attempts in the past to minimize this scandal were based on deception fed to him by staff
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members. >> i had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution. i've had a tight-knit group of people who i trust implicitly. i had no reason to believe they weren't telling me the truth. >> the governor said he was embarrassed and, quote, humiliated at the conduct of senior staff. in addition to the firing of kelly, he announced his withdrawing support for a campaign manager of his who was slated to be the state's gop chair and pledged better and fuller cooperation in these ongoing investigations. now, with cristy's name a constant in any 2016 presidential speculation, the governor also tried to tamp down critic who is say this controversy suggs larger problems in his administration. >> this is not the tone they've set over the last four years in this building. it's not the environment i've work sod hard to achieve. i don't want to fall into the trap of saying, well, this one
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incident happened, therefore, the one incident defines the whole. it does not. >> still, today's news conference, which was lengthy and thorough in places, was conspicuous for what christie did not do. he will not withdraw the name of his chief of staff for attorney general he said today. and he announced he will not interview certain aides, saying he doesn't want to do anything that might become witness tampering. in a controversy that reportedly began with public employees discussing the bridge over private e-mail, christie also said he's not going to issue new instructions on how people should use e-mail such as private accounts like gmail for state business. he didn't take a position on allegations of a now infamous, quote, unquote, traffic study was used or invented as part of a political cover-up. new york officials from authority that oversee the george washington bridge said a month ago they know of no such study. christie said he would take his apology directly to the mayor and the people of fort lee today and that is expected to happen
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at any moment. we'll bring that live. first we go to our first guest today marx joe torre leader of the new jersey state senate, loretta weinberg. you have been pursuing aspects of this investigation and this incident for some time. your reaction to what the governor said today. >> yeah. it's been four months. my first reaction to what the governor said is it's four months late. you know, we have a whole string of issues here that should have piqued the governor's interest if nothing else. you have his two top lieutenants at the port authority resigning. and he never once asked either of them did you talk to anybody in my office, where did this so-called idea of creating traffic jams, where did it come from? he never asked those questions? what about all those port authority commissioners that the governor nominate for appointment to the port authority? he never asked them what's going on here, let's get to the bottom
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of it? the governor adopted an attitude i've seen quite a bit over the last four-plus years. first, attack the people who brought the issue to the forefront. >> senator, let me ask you, from what you heard today in that lengthy news conference, did you hear anything from governor chris christie today that struck you as a lie or untrue? >>ly tell you that what i heard today is an explanation that came very late and that has a lot of holes in it. that's what i heard today. and it did nothing to assuage my feelings that the governor created a culture, he created it at the port authority, that many people think this was kind of acceptable behavior. and then apparently he created it with very close circle around him, right in his own front office with the deputy chief of
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staff, with the gentleman who was his campaign manager and slated to become the republican state chair. who are these people that got it through their minds that they could decide to do such a vicious thing, that put people in jeopardy, made school children, kindergarten and first greate graders the first days of their live, the week of 9/11, in the busiest bridge in the world. if you really get your arms around this, how did this start? >> yeah. >> whose idea was it? >> senator, one more question to you. as we're speaking with you, we are looking at a live shot of where the governor is expected to alive in fort lee, new jersey, today. that is obviously newsworthy and yet whether he makes a physical in-perp trip to offer this apology some would argue is less important than some less dramatic things that he could do such as provide fuller
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cooperation and that of his aides and anyone currently working for them and instruct them to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, which include ones that your colleagues have pushed. what do you think about that? >> i think he could start off by saying all those redacted e-mails that the committee was supplied with should be unredacted. that would be a little step forward to gain some confidence in what's going on here. we had the assembly transportation committee had a hearing today, and the gentleman who was subpoenaed took the fifth usually. usually people take the fifth amendment if they're worried about something. so there's a lot of holes in this story. there's a lot of holes about what he was -- what the governor was doing the last four months, how he made fun of this, saying, well -- >> that is what we saw today and we'll play some of that, the ablutionist, because he was literally making a joke out of, this now he says he takes it
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more seriously. the holes are something we'll report on. you mentioned the fifth amendment. people have a right to take it without us assuming anything negative about them, but there are a lot of other people that are not necessarily providing full cooperation or releasing full documents. state senate majority leader loretta weinberg, thank for your time today. ? thank you very much. thanks for inviting me. >> absolutely. for more on, this we welcome e.j. dion, a columnist with "the washington post," and steve kornacki, our colleague here at msnbc and host of "up" with steven kornacki and a resident new jersey expert. as we mentioned before, i want to go right to you, steve, on the traffic study. this is not a little thing. this was consuming a lot of attention at the press conference for good reason. take a listen to how christie describes this traffic study issue. >> i don't know what makes a legitimate traffic study. i don't know whether this was a traffic study that then morphed into a political vendetta or a
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political vendetta that morphed into a traffic study. i'm out of the traffic study business. >> trying to explain why there was talk of this traffic study. there we see chris christie arriving at fort lee. he is arriving with his entourage and going into -- we have craig melvin on the scene so we'll speak to him soon. we saw chris christie making his somewhat dramatic entrance here to do this personal apology. what we showed before that, of course, was him talking about the traffic study. why does that matter and why does the governor seem to want to put some distance between himself and the idea some study happened? >> there's a traffic study he's saying and maybe a political vendetta. i don't know what the balance is. the only evidence is there was a
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political vendetta. p exact origins i don't think we fully understand and maybe we will learn. there has been no evidence a real traffic study was commissioned, that took place, that there was any real traffic study at any point. it was curious to hear him almost clinging to that today. the christie claim is he was completely blind-sided by this, had no inkling until yesterday, no reason to be suspicious of anything. that defies common sense. he's guilty of a profound lack of curiosity. there were so many opportunities as senator weinberg was saying, so many opportunity where logic would compel an ordinary human being, governor or not, to ask questions and pursue answers, and he clearly didn't. so at the very least a lack of curiosity or willful ignorance. idea of running the clock out. >> e.j., steve is making the point what this scandal and investigation reminds us of on the first part is other politicians who want to use a
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willful ignorance or being asleep at the wheel as their best ability, the i cannot recall defense and the i wasn't really into it. and yet, e.j., now we have a very different response. chris christie trying to get his arms around all of this, owning that negative that maybe he didn't pay enough attention and trying to turn it around. what's your take? >> first, i think steve had a great line on twitter today. we're down to it depends on what the meaning of the words "traffic study" are -- is. i don't know why he clung to that. but i'll tell you what i came away with, is i got no explanation in that news conference of why in the first instance, when all these folks, his constituency, fellow citizens, were stuck in this traffic, why he didn't really look into that. all right. let's say he doesn't deal with traffic. let's move on. this thing has been around for a couple of months. and a lot of questions have been raised. and he didn't sort of try to ask them, well, can you show me the paper trail, can you show me the
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e-mails? i need to know more about this. he lit into the state legislature and to new jersey journalists without asking for more than just the word of his aides. that's the part that left me cold. i just -- i find it hard to understand why he didn't do more and only now, after these things come out, essentially after the smoking gun appear, that's when he does his apology. to me that was the biggest hole in the news conference. >> i think you hit it right on the head, e.j. this is about timing now for him. and he is a master presenter. as a prosecutor, he has a firm grasp -- former prosecutor. he has a firm grasp on how time lines work. e.j. and steve, i want to get your thought on e.j.'s point here. basically his argument is, yeah, it looks bad, but once i figured out there was a problem i'm all over it. >> again, once yesterday's news came out, once this sort of was
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linked by these e-mails to the governor's i was a, if chris christie had any knowledge of this and comes ouptd and lets on he has knowledge of it, his political career ends on the spot. realistically speaking, if he wants a political future, he has to at least for the moment say this. the question is whether there will be more information that comes out, that contradicts what he said today. i think the broader point here, though, as i said, is there were so many instances when chris christie could and should have asked questions and didn't. i think if you look at this just realistically, it raises more questions -- >> and that goes to the accountability, right, and e.j., when he said during one of the questions at the press conference, they said it didn't seem like you were taking this seriously as an investigation, he said, well, i didn't know it was serious, now i know it's serious. that's not the obligation you have, particularly when you're dealing with another branch of government, because you're not the one deciding whether it's serious. chris christie walked around and said without doing any of the research he should have decided
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that this wasn't real to him. and yet he also tried to cast in this in an emotional concept that he now cares that he will get angry. take a listen to that aspect of this. >> i am not a focus group tested, blow-dried candidate or governor. now, that has always made some people as you know uneasy. >> does that help, e.j.? >> i didn't think so. in fact, i felt that he made this way too much about him and didn't keep coming back to fort lee, although he's there now, obviously, he's doing that. but it was odd that at a lot of moments it was as if he was asking us to feel bad for him because he had been let down by these close aides who he trusted. now, let's stipulate. i suspect that for chris christie true believers, the fact that he went out there and said i take responsibility and
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this shouldn't happen, that'll be enough for some of them. but i just don't think it quiets the questions from everybody else including the press because he's just thrown all the blame on these other folks, acting as if they were totally free agents. and, again, as we've been saying, i just don't understand why he didn't ask questions a month ago. two weeks ago. >> yep. and that, e.j., goes to the question of is this a governor or a potential president who says when he gets lied to he just repeats the lies or does he have a better internal check or find a way to improve the check that he holds on the people that work for him. steven kornacki and e.j. dion, thanks for your time today. we're going to go thrive fort lee where governor chris christie arrived moments ago. msnbc's craig melvin was next to him as he walked by. craig, a serious day for residents there in fort lee that have been at the center of this for some time but not necessarily taken seriously by
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governor christie. what can you tell us today? >> that, ari melber, has been the chief complaint. that was, in fact, the chief complaint from the mayor, who held a news conference moments after governor christie's conference wrapped up, mayor sokolich held a news conference. i asked him during that news conference what he wanted to hear from governor christie, who's been inside for about five minutes now. i said what do you want to hear from the governor later? he made it clear initially he didn't want the governor to come. you guys were talking act the timing of his visit early, the mayor saying he would have preferred the governor wait until the investigation had wrapped. the governor said he was coming anyway. then the mayor said okay, if he's going to come we'll be hospitable. he said, though, he wanted governor christie to apologize specifically to the people of fort lee for that traffic snarl that lasted several days when they shut down -- his administration shut down two of the three lanes here. 35,000 people, roughly, live in
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this borough in the shadow of that bridge. and the mayor said he felt as if his citizens had been disrespected. so he wanted governor christie to apologize to that. he said he did not want to hear from the governor myny sort of this nonsense about a traffic study. he is meeting upstairs in the mayor's office. we don't know how long this meeting is going to last, nor do we know whether governor christie is going to come out and talk to media after that or whether the mayor is going to come out and talk to the media after that. but it will be very interesting to hear precisely what gets said in that closed-door meeting between governor christie and the mayor of fort lee. >> yeah, craig. it is vintage chris christie because here he is going out, taking action, looking like he's doing something today. that i know vits everyone, ourselves included, to watch and -- what i was going to raise, craig, briefly, when he comes back out afterward, what more can he possibly add? >> reporter: that's a really
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good point. he went on for an hour and 48 minutes earlier today. i would point out there is another entrance to the municipal building here. the governor could have easily gone in through the back where there's only a handful of cameras. there are a couple dozen cameras here in the front and the governor came right down front, hopped out. he wanted to be seen coming in. >> right. it's a deliberate -- >> reporter: not sure he wants to be seen coming out. >> a deliberate choice. choices have consequences. we'll check in with you again if fe pops out. much more on governor chris christie including the several stages of grief on display this afternoon. >> no. listen, i know you guys would love that if i actually did. i told you i'm not to that stage yet. i'm sure i might get to the stage where i'm angry. i don't break things. asional constipation,
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later today i'm going to be going to fort lee, ask to meet with the mayor, to apologize to him personally face to face, and also to apologize to the people of fort lee in their town. >> we will continue to bring you the latest in the christie story if in fort lee. right now he is delivering that apology. we're going to get reaction from day ma milbank in washington and professor james peterson. stay with us. first we turn to the white house where the president gathered people to discuss the center piece of his agenda, the fight to reduce poverty and income disparity. these are all front and center
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in the state of the union address he'll be delivering this month. today the president announced the first wave of five promise zones. these are tax breaks and a range of other assistance for distressed areas to increase economic security and create jobs. he says this is just the beginning. >> we've got to make sure this recovery, which is real, leaves nobody behind. this is going to be a year of action. that's what the american people expect, and they're ready and willing to pitch in and help. >> so let's go to united way president stacy stuart, actually at that white house event today. welcome. stacy, later in that same speech the president said every kid in this country can make it but we've got to believe in that and not just pay it lip service. it was an implicit knock against some republican talk about inequality to my ear. but does this policy program specifically go to making that a reali reality? >> i think what the president announced today was something that was quite dramatic and that he really announced not a
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brand-new federal government program but really a program that would allow the federal government to be a better partner to local and state government, those on the front lines helping to create an opportunity for all. you know, we just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty yesterday. i think what the president's saying is we don't need another top-down federal program but what we do need is to enable local communities that are developing solutions to help kids be better educated, to help more working families to succeed in this economy. we need the federal government to be a better partner to those communities. that was what was announced today. >> i hear a lot of washington talk about the president needs to lead. i don't know if you can see me but i'm doing the bunny quotes. nobody know what is lead means. do you think they are trying to lead on this issue and i've heard work with republicans on these promise zones? >> i think what was really amazing today is that the
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president was joined by senators mcconnell and rand paul from kentucky, he was joined by mayors from around the country from the head of the tribal lands to local leaders from rural areas. you know, their acknowledgment today was really that the president can lead, but it takes all of us working together. there's no sector in this country that has the solution to what it's going to take to create an opportunity for all people. federal government, state and local governments need to be working with organizations like united way and other community-based organizations, have to be working with schools and parents and teachers. we all have a stake in this. and that's what the president was saying today. i think we believe in that. certainly we believe in that at united way. this is collective action that's required. now to create an opportunity for prosperity, self-sufficiency, greater education. and that's the point we're at today in this country. >> i know you do a lot of work out there in the field on that. this is a day a lot of people are focused on the politics in new jersey and how that might boomerang in washington. we didn't want to lose sight of
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this policy story. thanks for joining us. >> thanks for having me, ari. >> you bet. our panel, dana milbank, political columnist for "the washington post" and in pennsylvania msnbc contributor professor james peterson. welcome to you both. professor peterson, briefly your thoughts on the economic piece of this agenda there. >> i think i agree with the guest that the promise zone initiative represents an important and powerful opportunity for new partnerships between local government, particularly municipalities, and the federal government in areas of housing where it's deeply needed in terms of development as well as fighting crime. can you imagine some of these local law enforcement initiatives having the justice department behind them both to help keep them honest but also make them nor effective in policing communities that need it host most? i like what's happening here. be interesting to see how the educational piece rolls out as well. it's important, the president seems committed to it as an act
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of principle, and my hope is philadelphia in particular will take full advantage of it. >> i hear you on that. the president at times emotional about this. it's emotional for people in the country. dana, there was a lot of emotion, to be real, looking back to the political news of chris christie, a lot of emotion from him. we've seen it before. today clearly the billest political threat to his career both in new jersey and potentially beyond. take a listen to some of that emotion, dana. >> i am embarrassed and humiliated. i am heart broken. i don't think i've got on the angry stage yet. but i am a very sad person today. i'm sad. i'm a sad guy standing here today. >> you know, dana, in all seriousness, everyone's made mistakes in life, whatever you think of chris christie, he does have an ability, at least as a political performance, to get up there and emote with strength. i've worked in politics. that's a difficult thing to do. what was your take on that political theater today?
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>> yeah. you almost wanted to give him a hug after that. it was quite a feat of endurance to be up there for so long. ari, i think he did as well as you can do in the circumstances because his administration's been caught. there's nothing else he can do at this point. to a large extent it's out of his hands so it doesn't matter how well he did. that's going to be up to the u.s. attorney and would-be supporters for his presidential race. fund-raising will be more difficult, harder to get endorsements while this drags on. it did not end today by any stretch and he was clear to say not to be able to say whether there were any other acts of retribution. everybody with a traffic jam or pothole in their town is now going to think the governor of new jersey had it in for democrats in that area. >> dana, it didn't end, but he showed a level of what i would call intellectual stamina, his ability to stand up there. some will make fun of it, but his ability to stand up there for that long and take that many questions. professor peterson, that's something that i have to tell you, there are people in both
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parties that look at him as formidable for that reason even though there are some serious ethical questions here. senator rand paul, who's battled with him before, fresh reaction from his, a reaction that shows a desire to basically evade himself out of the story. but take a listen to this. >> i know how angry i am when i'm in traffic and i'm always wondering who did this to me? >> your thoughts, professor. >> well, i think obviously, i mean, here's the thing. i agree with you that chris christie, governor christie, showed great stamina in the actual press conference. but there's too many unanswered questions here to have any kind of resolution. his response about bridget capitol hill is also strange because he says he terminated her because she died instead of saying she terminated her because she initiated this political vendetta. still too many holes. all this talk about new jersey, ari. we need to acknowledge the fact of a great poetic and literary giant out of newark, new jersey,
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today. i hope the governor can take time to acknowledge that. >> i appreciate that. dana, going back to you, you were saying before when we were discussing this, sort of beyond the performance there's a lot of questions. professor peterson has raised a big hole, which is are you firing people because they lied to you or made you look bad politically, or are you firing people because, as we've seen from weeks of reporting, the state was abusing its power? >> right. and he has a variety of explanations all along the way, you know, beginning with the traffic studies and then suggesting these fellows sort of retire from the port tourt because the time had come, it was time for them to cycle through. i think when a lot of those old clips are played side by side, that's going to be more difficult for him. i agree. i think he handled this moment about as well as one can handle this moment. this is still a particularly awful moment at the worst possible time when people are just -- the nation is just starting to focus its attention on this guy as a potential
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presidential candidate. >> timing for him in his national appearance, when the christie biography is written, regardless of what happens from now forward, there's going to be the 2012 convention speech, all about i, i, i, what did i do, then this longer hour and 50 minute address, i, i, i feel terrible. whether he has more stories to tell, something a lot of people will have an eye on. thank you both. coming up, we'll look at the fallout for the new jersey govern governor, discussion of this scandal. >> mr. boehner, wondering if you saw any of governor christie's press conference before you came on. >> no. i wasn't fortunate enough to have that opportunity. >> do you have any comment on this latest scandal engulfing governor chris christie? >> actually, i'm concerned about the transportation to the super bowl when the san francisco 49ers win the next two games. hey guys! sorry we're late.
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start a tax-free business at a shot of fort lee, new jersey, where governor chris christie is offering a personal apology to the mayor. coming um, reaction to the governor's press conference, reaction to that apology that's taking place, a reminder of a difference one month can make. as they say in comedy, timing is everything. >> i worked the cones. unbeknownst to everybody, i was the guy out there. i was in overalls and a hat but i was actually the guy working the cones out there. i would never have come out here four or five weeks ago and made a joke about these lane closures if i had ever had an inkling that anyone on my staff would
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have been so stupid but to be involved and then so deceitful as to just not disclose the information of their involvement to me when directly asked by their superior. ♪ ♪ ♪
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[ sneeze ] [ male announcer ] truth is not all flu products treat all your symptoms. what? [ male announcer ] nope, they don't have an antihistamine. really? [ male announcer ] really. [ dog whine ] but alka-seltzer plus severe cold and flu speeds relief to these eight symptoms. [ breath of relief ] thanks. [ male announcer ] you're welcome. ready? go. get it! [ male announcer ] can't find theraflu, try alka-seltzer plus for fast liquid cold and flu relief. the book's not out yet but the reviews with coming in. robert gates has a book out kicking up dust in foreign policy circles. he praises many of president obama's policies but also appears to question his personal conviction and steadiness as a war president. that charge has sparked it own criticism including he's taking sides in the civil/military relationship. >> secretary gates appears to be
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doing something which is inconsistent in my judgment with the role of defense secretary. it's supposed to be a civilian-run government/military relationship. he has taken the position of defending the military against the white house. >> that was ambassador mark ginsburg on our program yesterday. for more i'm pleased to be joined by elise jordan, former staffer and state department speechwriter for condoleezza rice and jamie williams, old expert and you are here to tell us how this is playing in a town that loves drama. in case you're wondering why you're here, jimmy. >> is that why i'm here? >> that's why you're here. >> this is interesting stuff. do you have a question or just want me to talk? >> no. just messing with you. going to elise because she's closer to foreign policy. >> got it. >> your thoughts on what ambassador ginsburg said on this program. >> i disagree with his premise but i haven't read the book. my take-away is gates was complaining about the centralization of policy at the
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white house. john britton, you know, having the kill list, going to the president, having so much power concentrate with tom donilon and ben rhodes and other nsc players who aren't accountable. >> donilon -- >> they have to testify in front of -- >> who was at the national security council before he became chief of staff. >> exactly. >> you're saying having worked in the state department that a lot of folks feel there is a close-knit group that sometimes overrides what's happening in the agency. >> absolutely. >> this was the core of gates' argument. there hasn't been so much power in one place in national security since nixon. i think it definitely from the bush years is a striking change from how much is done within the white house versus at the cabinet level. >> jimmy, that's an argument that gets people interested in washington because it goes to personality. there have been reporting in other arias, steven chu, nobel-prize-winning guy from the energy department who felt sidelined, other folks like that
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who obviously were the president's picks, right? he picked them because he had faith in them and several have said, to be fair, gates is not the first, to say, hey, i don't actually get enough control over this. do you view that it way or more towards what the ambassador was saying which is no, it's important to have the civilian at the top running things? >> you know, i don't know that it's news, a, that president obama was his tanhesitant about war, and i have not read the book. i also don't think this is unusual for this white house. you brought up steven chu. we have former cabinet secretaries who felt like they were, as you called it, sidelined. so, granted, in the bush white house obviously we were, you know, in two wars, president bush for a lot of his generals and his joint chiefs to tell him where he should be, when he should be, et cetera, et cetera, and he took that advice for all intents and purposes. this white house operates a good bit differently. >> i disagree when it -- >> briefly to elise's response
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and we'll also talk about our friend chris christie. go ahead, elise. >> yes, president bush did take the counsel of his commanders on the ground, but he also showed a lot of leadership in choosing to go with the surge. >> i have a problem with the idea that barack obama doesn't show leadership if you don't think so, ask bin laden, but he's dead. i take a little bit of umbrage with that. i think he shows a lot of leadership. i just think he's distrustful, as kennedy was, of his general, and that's not so unusual. >> if you're distrustful, why do you pursue a policy for 30,000 troops to policy for a policy he didn't think was going to work? >> probably needed to do that to show it wouldn't work. >> so the parents of those men and women who died and their families, i just find that to be a completely unacceptable answer. >> well, then you should look back to the bush white house. >> politics at its worst. >> look at the bush white house putting us into those wars and we can have a conversation about those 3,000 dead. >> go ahead.
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>> you know, i'm sorry 9/11 happened and we had to have -- >> and so am i. i was in the capitol the day it happened. >> jimmy, let me jump in and say this. part of the debate you're having, which is worth having, is whether the strategy was being tested for operational reasons, right -- >> right. >> -- or as some have suggested and some have interpreted gates to be saying that somehow the conviction wasn't there, that the president may have been doing that which he did not believe in. >> senator barack obama in 2008 ran on the fact he was going to get us out of iraq. this is not news. >> he also ran on fact he was going to pursue the good war in afghanistan, which he did -- >> and we're still there, aren't we? >> but he didn't want to do it and he pant backed the policy. i think commander in chief has to be behind the policy for it to succeed. >> jimmy, final word from you, then elise. >> i ji thi the president of the united states is still in afghanistan so, are our troops.
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he's asking to pull them out. and the american public are overwhelmingly against us being in afghanistan despite the fact that 9/11 happened. i know that 9/11 happened. i would like for us to get out of a region that i don't think we can ever solve. the british couldn't, the french couldn't, so why are we there? >> i'm not debating the flaw of the afghan strategy right now. but what -- i think we're at this point because barack obama set us on a course without being fully behind it. >> listen, i gave -- jimmy, i did extra time but i am going to wrap it up there. i think it's why this book is important. people are already digging into the afghanistan strategy. >> absolutely. >> the past is not past. the past is still what we're doing. jimy williams, elise stuart, experienced people with strong screws. thanks both for being here. >> thank you. >> as we go to break another look at fort lee, new jersey, where chris christie is offering that personal oi ai apology, the big political news of the day is straight ahead. [ male announcer ] this is kevin.
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chris christie is leaving the mayor's office. you're looking at craig melvin outside of the mayor's office. craig, can you hear me? >> reporter: i have you, ari. do you have me? >> guy aed- >> reporter: he was in there for about 40, 45 minutes. he walked out by himself. he did not walk out with the mayor of fort lee. i asked him, governor, what did you say, did you apologize to the people of fort lee, i know we're trying to turn that sound. he said he did apologize, apologized to the people of fort lee this morning, repeated that apology this afternoon. he did not get into the specifics of that conversation. at some point we hope to be able to hear from the mayor of fort lee again just to kind of find
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out precisely what was said. but he was in there for a while. >> let's look at that. >> reporter: the governor is talking to some folks in fort lee. he appears to be talking to some regular -- some regular citizens. he also said to me, ari, that he did not say, rather, i should point out, whether the mayor of fort lee accepted his apology. >> craig, i got to tell you the optics of this are obviously political. we're watching there. governor christie's mor or the
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cade, departing from this meet, this apology tour with the fort lee mayor. craig, the last thing i want to ask you here is, was this what you think the christie team expected or were they hoping to walk out with the mayor? >> i think this is precisely not just what they were expecting. i think this is precisely what they wanted again. there's at least two other entrances into this municipal building. he did not take either of those entrances. he walked right past the dozens or so cameras assembled. after the meeting as you saw there, didn't just walk out, he stopped, took a number of questions, he stopped before he got into his suv as well. >> thanks for your reporting. governor chris christie leaving the town hall. joining us is molly from the atlantic and a former aide to
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barack obama, hillary clinton, and new york attorney general eric schneiderman. blake, your thoughts on what we've seen today and the governor leaving just now. >> you know, look, we spent a lot of time on politics of theater and reeyal ti. chris christie with all due respect to you, i don't care that he has a lot of intellectual stamina and stand for 09 minutes and make his local press corps if giggle at his jokes. what he didn't do is get to the bottom of what happened. he's a former u.s. attorney, did a lot of digging in his day. he couldn't answer questions about where else this extend to. he was asked about who else in his administration knew about this, what did he know and when, didn't really have answers for us today. this is not just one of those scandals, you know, a lot of political scandal, some we call nontroversies, things that are made up and aren't a pig deal. but this is his constituents potentially having their lives put at risk because of his actions. we need answers, not just
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theater. >> jake is emphasizing the difference between the pomp and the performance and the actual substance. let's take a listen to chris christie leaving that meeting today. >> did you apologize to the people of fort lee, as well, governor? >> pardon me p? >> did you apologize to the people of fort lee? >> of course. i did that this afternoon and here today to also apologize to the people of ft. lee. a terrible thing. we're going to work to regain their trust. >> what did the mayor say to you? >> what did the mayor say, governor? >> just there looking moments ago at chris christie speaking there to msnbc's craig melvin as he walked out. molly, speak to blake's point here that what chris christie is trying to do is as a political matter is the politics of distraction, that he's running around the state, that obviously people are going to cover that, a lot of media we just saw, we are covering it to see what he says and yet perhaps we're not covering some of the details of this and the unanswered questions particularly why the governor took so long to do any
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accountability on what his staff was up to. >> well, i certainly agree with blake that what's going to determine how this plays out for governor christie is going to be the facts, is going to be what ultimately we learn and give than there now may be a federal investigation and that the new jersey legislature continues to hold hearings on this matter, there are probably facts that are still going to come out. and if there does e emerge proof that links this to christie definitively, he's going to look a lot worse than he looks today, if such a thing is possible. i think it is. if we don't find out anything more, it's very hard for him to prove negative, and this may hang over him like a dark cloud. there are a lot of character flaws that the american people are willing to forgive in their leaders. just look at bill clinton. but we don't know how far this goes. >> right. they may push on that, the idea of the proving of a negative, the idea of because he spoke for so long he must have explained everything. let's take a listen to a concise version of what christie's defense boiled down to today.
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>> i am soul searching on thp p but what i also want the people of new jersey to know, this is the exception, not the rule. >> the exception and not the rule. and the problem with that when you talk about a lot of the accusations of bullying is there's not just one thing here that everyone's looking at. there's a pattern of behavior. a recent story in "the new york times," reports of a number of incidents suggesting political retribution, for example, for a former governor, richard cody, said that the governor's office, chris christie's office, took away his security detail as relate retribution. another, rosenthal, said he lost his state funding over redistricting battles with the governor. and "the times" reports that a republican state senator said a local judicial appointment was held up because he disagree eed with the governor over medical reforms. blake, i think that does go to the record and the broader policy, history here, which is what kind of sleerd he.
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-- leader is he. >> no question. you and i have worked to on campaigns in the past. never worked somewhere where it would have been acceptable, say christie didn't know a thing about it, but the idea that there was such a culture where top aides thought this would be acceptable, where they stopped traffic so that emergency vehicles wouldn't be able to get to sick people, tells you something about the culture. >> molly, did he address the culture sufficiently in your mind? >> well, no. the problem for christie is that his best defense is that he was clueless and that makes him look clueless. so either he had no idea what his staff was doing and all kinds of shenanigans were going on behind his back or he's not telling the truth and he is a micromanager and he was responsible for this terrible idea of retribution. look, one of the things that's appealing about christie is that he does seem to take his job very personally, that when sandy hit his state, he seemed to take that very emotionally and personally and to rise to defend
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his state as a personal matter. but if you're taking something like this personally and if politics and someone not endorsing you then becomes something that you're willing to mobilize the resources of the state against, that's a different story and doesn't look so good. >> yeah. that's the issue. it's not just traffic. it goes to the allegations of abuse of power. the atlantic's molly and blake seth. thanks for joining us on a busy news day here. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] rocky had no idea why dawn was gone for so long... ...but he'd wait for her forever, and would always be there with the biggest welcome home. for a love this strong, dawn only feeds him iams. with 2x the meat of other leading brands...
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>> welcome to "the ed show" live from new york. let's get to work. >> i am embarrassed and humiliated. i am sad today. i'm heart broken. i'm sick over this. i've done some soul searching. i would sflefr come out here four or five weeks ago and made a joke about these lane closures. if i had ever had an inkling. i worked the cones actually. i was blind-sided. all i know is i don't know. >> did probable presidential favorite chris christie personally order this traffic hit? i don't know. >> i had no knowledge of this. i had no knowledge. i did not -- mayor


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